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My name is Bob Land. I am a full-time freelance editor, indexer, and proofreader. This blog is my website.

You'll find my rate sheet and client list here, as well as musings on the life of a freelancer; editing, proofreading, and indexing concerns and issues; my ongoing battles with books and production; and the occasional personal revelation.

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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Haiku Monday: Just Like the Lottery: You Can't Win If You Don't Play


So many thoughts and themes.

It’s been a long time since I’ve hosted, and I’m going to echo what previous hosts have been saying lately: More and more of the enjoyment from this weekly parade comes from seeing what people whose personalities we know do with a topic — or do at all — rather than the actual execution.

Too, as Woody Allen or Albert Einstein or Yogi Berra said, “Ninety percent of life is showing up.”

The return of Fleur. Chickory breaking her hiatus. (Thanks to you both.) Aunty, Aunty, Aunty . . . was your finger hovering over the Publish key, waiting for 11:59pm to strike? Priceless. And Kristen, thanks to you, too, for joining us for recess. It seems that no one has time for HM, but here we are again.

Thanks to all for meeting the deadline. Delivering this blog posting might be the only deadline I make all week.

[What’s my life been like? Let’s just say that 19-hour workdays, not eating, and an inability to achieve any kind of deep sleep (but waking up drenched in sweat) is a wonderful weight-loss plan.]

So, yeah, it’s as much about the people as the poetry; the collective wisdom of what people have to say about a topic is so damn instructive.

* * *

My takeaway from this week’s entries is that unless you’re very young or not human at all, play (as a verb) comes fraught with peril and maybe pain — from Fleur’s hard landing to Serendipity’s preseason march (and the forecast of pain for lugging the beast back to camp) to Becca’s incredibly ominous “be careful where you bleed” to Rafa baring his “charms.” CoreyJo addresses the addiction aspect of HM, and even good addictions can be intrusive. (Czar to self: Get to work! It’s already 5:30am! You’ve been up two hours and haven’t turned a billable page yet!)

And bad addictions, which typically start out as play? Don’t get me started.

So, who can enjoy relatively unfettered play? Shadows and trees (Grins); squealing cousins in summertime (Fishy); grasshoppers (Chickory); ravens and martins (Serendipity and Kristen, respectively).

Caveat: Even — or especially — childhood play can come with its bumps and bruises, as Fleur attests. And here’s where knowing the players (oops!) gets interesting. If someone else, some unknown, had submitted Fleur’s entry . . . fine. But knowing Fleur’s haiku history, is it possible to read about two people in joyous rhythm, then with a sudden end, as anything but metaphor?

* * *

I’ve mentioned that my son is an actor, so when I hear the word “play” these days, my mind goes to the stage, and I’ve experienced far greater catharsis in a theatre’s setting than just about anywhere else. Plays are about conflict. No conflict, no play (or at least not a very good one).

Conflict? You want conflict? Where else but this crowd can a host throw out the word “play” and the first three submitted words are “a nuclear war,” and it’s right on topic (Karl)?

Catharsis? Becca addresses the tears in the ultimate final scene — but what really nailed me with Becca’s verse is that, as any member of my family will tell you, at some point at every play I cry (if not empty the tear ducts). It’s the emotion of live performance, the joy of seeing something done well, sometimes even the content of the play itself (or now, seeing my son on stage living his dream [I’m crying as I type; yes, I am]).

I cried (finally) at my mother's funeral, but nowhere near as hard as I've cried in a theatre. And, as part of czar family lore, I remember hearing that my mother was so overwhelmed at seeing Camelot on Broadway back in the early to mid-60s that she needed to be carried from the theatre.

The most cathartic moment ever in a theatre for me was watching my younger (nonactor) son, as a high school sophomore, as Pippin — for a million reasons. If I had time, and if you had time, I’d tell you the tale. But, as I've learned this week through all of you, the reality of "play" in any of its forms can be a bit brutal. (And knowing what my parents' marriage was turning out to be at that time, I suspect ma czar was carrying more than a little emotion in with her, as was I at Pippin.)
  
Play can be hard. Look at Jon’s words: “screaming,” “unmerciful hammering.” And how much pain went into being able to play like that? (Oops, I’m back to verbs. I’m off the clock. So shoot me.)

* * *

Parting comments:

“Childhood’s popsicle”: Great, Grins.

“The fountain of youth”: Chickory, the czarina told me the other day that she saw a cartoon of a man at a fork in the road with two signs. One said “Fountain of Youth”; the other said “Bacon.” Now, that’s a tough choice. But if I’m reading you right, obligations lead straight to the grave. Wow. And I agree entirely.

“Twirling laughter sky”: Love it, Kristen. Always the kind of phrase that seems to grab the host’s attention.

 * * *

I need to wrap this up. Even facing a 19-hour day, I can avoid work with the best of them.

* * *

A friend has written and directed a new play, which will be performed this week at the New York Fringe Festival (Fleur, you should go see it; if you’re interested, I’ll get details). But the apparent theme of the play (which I’d never pick up on, because my friend’s IQ is about 80 points higher than mine) is that we become what we fear.

I’ve never been playful in any traditional sense of the word. Ever. Not in the hopping-skipping-jumping-fancy free sense. But that’s what immediately comes to mind when I hear the word. 

Maybe I fear the verb “play.” And maybe my fear went out over the series of tubes. Because what I’m learning from these entries is that, for everyone, play isn’t as playful as it sounds. As a verb, it often involves some pain. As a noun: catharsis, war, death.

Unless you’re damn, damn lucky.

* * *

Oh. Did someone win this week? Yeah. That would be Fishy with her seventeen-syllable evocation of the Bard's A Midsummer Night's Dream:

B’neath light of moon
Oberon’s mischief reveals
William’s Summer farce

Thanks, everybody. I wish I could write this stuff all day. Or sleep and eat. Or do anything else but what the rest of the day holds in store. Like play . . . although now I'm not so sure.

Love you all. Really.

14 comments:

moi said...

You're always telling me you're not a writer and I'm always disagreeing. With good reason. A wonderful write up that does great justice to the wonderful haiku submitted this week—and to the theme itself, in all its myriad incarnations.

If I could, I'd play all day. But, like you, have impossible deadlines to meet. Not even time to get around to everyone's sites yesterday.

Congrats to Fishy for once again writing something so breathtakingly beautiful. Great choice.

fishy said...

I hope you are not playing me Czar.

The truth is I am thrilled to win a HM at your place. It would be very surprising to find myself the only player intimidated by the content of your sidebar!

Blowfish sends along his "kudos" for your write up which I read to him over coffee. He said to tell you, "thanks for the merriment".

@ Moi,
your comment is a present!

All,
I will post a theme for next weeks game by Friday afternoon.

Fleurdeleo said...

Csar, that was a beautiful, soulful wrap up! We love you, too. Really.

And Congrats, Fishy--keeping it classical and classy: I applaud you!

Rafael said...

Czar:
You are the BEST!!!

I love a man that feels, and has an ability to express it wisely. I couldn't help but well up a little bit myself, as you spoke about your sons. I can only hope my Pop would feel the same about me.

I feel ya', my friend...excellent write up.

FISHY:
What can I say, but I had yours pegged as the winner, too. In just 17-syllables, you hit on a myriad of plays on the word play. Oh...and it played deliciously on the tongue!!! (YUMMY)

I'll soon be off for my own 2-weeks of fun and frolics, so, in parting, here's my last 2-cents on "play":

Play me a tune
That touches my heart
Sing me a song
That ends where we start
Sweet reverberations
Lips pulled apart
Gasses from asses
A tuba 'ing fart!!

HaHa!! Be blessed everyone (& don't miss me too much...I'll be back to annoy sooner than ya'll are pro'ly hoping for).

Rafa

Anonymous said...

Marevelous write up--sleeplessness becomes yore writin'--ditto Moi's comment.

I promise by all thas' remainin' of my decency, I warn't playin' wif ya'. Czar. Mah finger din't hover (despite the playful tease a few days back) it RACED panting. I barely skidded into the room, jabbed out what I prayed wuz 17 syl an' punched enter--truly. We have a clan pup what be gravely ill--looks like he ain't gonna make it--an Aunty had been wif' the distraugt. That I dashed in an' played (!) managed to send whatever lame entry, is a tribute to the Czar. Pls, doan think I be messin' wif' ya. Look back an see how 12:01 EDT is early fer Aunty who slides in usually afore midnight PDT!

But, to the winner, well done fishy!!! It was a most playful fish that swam off wif' the prize.

czar said...

@Moi: Thanks.

@Fishy: Not playing at all. As soon as it came in, yours was the one to beat.

I don't know why anyone would be intimidated by the right column of my blog, but I've heard from some publishers and authors that they are quite scared of appearing in one of my blog posts related to work -- even though I keep everyone anonymous. And you know I love that. The blog was designed to provide information to publishers and authors, not scare them into submission. Whatever works.

I'm guessing Blowfish needed the coffee to keep him awake. My post badly needed an editor.

@Fleur: Thanks, and it's great to have you back. Don't take another half-year break.

Rafa: Thanks to you, my good man, and safe travels.

Aunty: Sorry to hear about the pup, and I appreciate the tribute, which follows on the heels of your own a few weeks ago with your "Where is everyone?" post.

Had a great time, folks. Y'all make it real easy to do so.

Karl said...

Good evening Czar,

Well written and well done. Thank you, sir for hosting.

Fishy: Congratulations on your win. The Bard meets Haiku an interesting twist.

Fleur: I hope this wasn't a cameo. And you plan to come back and play in the sandbox.

czar said...

@Karl: Thanks as always for your support -- and for laying the groundwork for a great week -- not to mention helping to bring La Fleur out of seclusion.

czar said...

And for anyone still lurking, here's the play I was talking about, based on us becoming our fears:

http://www.nyc-arts.org/events/20213/fringenyc-bumbershoot

If you know anyone in NYC who'd be up for a very interesting and challenging (but fun, sorta) play, send them to see this.

Added incentive? You'd be supporting the art of a onetime Haiku Monday participant.

chickory said...

good on ya FIshy. sorry to admit my Shakes is shaky and so it was probably lost on me a bit. Czar, nice hosting, fun and engaging write up. Thank you. I join all in welcoming Fleur back. Well done everyone!

Anonymous said...

Czar,

Weighing in late. At least my days are not as long as yours, but lately...

Tonight I got off early (only 45 minutes late) and had to hurry and make a peach cobbler for friends before I even fixed dinner - long story. They needed the peaches more than we do. But I digress.

Quite a writeup for someone with no time to write! Great theme and wonderful job hosting.

And to Fishy, congratulations. You always have such great haiku. Looking forward to your theme this week.

Serendipity

czar said...

@Serendipity: Thanks for stopping by. You have some fortunate friends.

becca said...

wow so glad it was you judging and not me no way i would have been able to choose. you did well my friend and congrats to fishy i bow to you.

fishy said...

Theme is posted for this weeks challenge, splash on over!